JPK Huson 1863

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#1
Those three shattering days during July, 1863 were to the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania citizens days forever marking ' Before ' and ' After '. Nothing would be the same, the entire world gone mad, not merely changed, ' different ' a pitiful understatement.

Insulted by their singular experience, a literal trial by fire was theirs. Accounts began coming to light almost immediately, a horrified and fascinated world demanding more information. Unbelievably, unjust charges came out the shambles post battle, no one ever understood how, labeling Gettysburg citizens mean spirited and uncharitable. Nothing, another shameful understatement, could be further from the truth. In a town where non-military died through exhaustion, aiding the fallen it was clear ' Gettysburg ', the town, the citizens, soldiers, the battle and blood, hospitals and cemeteries had somewhere and somehow fused into a long History walking forward.

We've had many accounts and threads, during and post-battle. This thread is intended to tie them together, collect links both here and elsewhere. Posting names to honor and memorialize, continuing what was begun 150 years ago by the citizens of Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania.

gettysbg new cit 2.JPG

gettysbg new cit 1.JPG
 

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JPK Huson 1863

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#2
http://civilwartalk.com/threads/if-...their-newspapers-summer-and-fall-1863.121370/
Accounts from the local papers, I think July and August, 1863

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-elliot-map-do-you-know.119626/
This would be what the citizens lived with daily, 3,000 men buried, and many not, all over the battlefield- which was their town.

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/ladies-of-gettysburg-closer-look-at-famous-photo.121759/
The famous photo of troops marching into Gettysburg, Gettyburg's citizens gathering to watch.

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/nur...aritys-history-in-blue-and-gray-blood.121179/
These accounts include Gettysburg churches and citizens.

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/elizabeth-masser-thorn-of-gettysburg.96230/
Elizabeth Thorn's story is, in my opinion frequently misrepresented- an immigrant family in Gettysburg.

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/ladies-at-gettysburg.118430/
Many women of Gettysburg.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#4
We see ' Lee's headquarters ' all the time. Not frequently that this little home was Mrs. ( Mary ) Thompson's house. She was not happy about who occupied it.

" While the battle raged outside, Mrs. Thompson and her daughter-in-law with two small children probably sought shelter in the cellar beneath the house. Lee's staff chose this house not only because of this close proximity to the center of the Confederate line, but also because the house with its thick wall afforded the General some physical protection from artillery shells. "
http://www.civilwarheadquarters.com/

gb citizen leister lee hq new.jpg

This is LoC, just cropped, was more interested in the widow than in the home- we see this all the time.

 

JPK Huson 1863

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#8
Yes, came across " Days of Darkness " while looking into the topic.

Unsurprisingly, there are so, so many accounts post war. One, the Bayle family, I'm expecting to see as a book any day now. Why? I cannot find the published accounts anywhere. Mother and son wrote and published ' What happened '- various papers ran these. All papers and sources have vanished- and it's a terrific story inclusive of a forlorn, very young Confederate soldier who showed up on their doorstep asking for asylum. He was just, plain tired of war- not the Confederacy, just ' war '. They took him in, gave him clothing, fed and cared for him- he even handed out food and water to passing Confederate troops in the dreadful heat later. This young boy so tired of war became a family member and Gettysburg resident- in time bought the farm next to theirs. It's a great story!

I think the son went on to become an attorney and some kind of big wig, maybe professor and politician, never forgot those days during and after the battle.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#9
Twelve-year old Mary Elizabeth Montfort declared that "the terrible

smell all through the town is more than the time we found a dead rat

behind the loose boards in the cellar." Albertus McCreary's memories

included the bottles of pennyroyal and peppermint carried by everyone

to ward off the stench. A week after the battle Sallie Broadhead was

describing an atmosphere "loaded with the horrible smell of decaying

horses and the remains of slaughtered animals and, it is said, from the

bodies of men imperfectly buried." She feared lest pestilence should take

control "for every breath we draw is made ugly by the stench."


" We Never Expected A Battle " Robert Bloom, professor, Pennsylvania College, 1863

bodies aug 1863.JPG

I'm not sure why this order was necessary. Perhaps families were wishful of reinterring and were not being respectful on how this was accomplished or, since the cemetery was planned, they did not wish to have graves interfered with.

Bury dead June 30.JPG


Read about this order in on of the journals, from one of the Gettysburg Papers, July 7th, 1863
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#11
Jenny Wade and John Burns in the same article- before these names were sucked into the highest reaches of Time's vortex, to be swept 150 years forward mostly intact they were people inside a community- people you knew by name, said hello to, or not, in the case of John, perhaps. He could be a little, er, grumpy.

And I don't know if troop movements within the town have disproven this but accounts closer , heck, 3 days later, to the time felt friendly fire killed Jenny Wade. Union troops.


Gettysbg sentinel july 7 wade.JPG



" The Sentinel of July 9th, while concluding

that she was somehow felled "by our own sharpshooters," reported


that "concluding that she was somehow felled "by our own sharpshooters," reported
that "several of our citizens were severely wounded from sharpshooters


during the three days firing."

immigrant at gettysburg july 7.JPG


Young immigrant from China killed

sent homes destrd july 7.JPG

Gettysburg citizens, ' desolation of our homes ' , July 7th, 1863

sent lancaster friend july 7.JPG


Lancastor citizens aiding those of Gettysburg

sent. july 7.JPG


burns july 14.JPG


burns wife gb.jpg


Found this on LoC a few years ago- we always, always see Burns on the porch, glaring at the camera. Never seem to see his wife- until this shot.

Found an article stating John Burns was helped to his house, a wounded citizen, by 3 Confederate soldiers.


 

JPK Huson 1863

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#12
Not to bring up one of the well known citizens right away but it is necessary. Everyone is well aware Elizabeth and Peter Thorn lived in Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse- one side only; her parents, the Massers, lived in the other half. Elizabeth's Herculean feat, burying shattered soldiers was on order- cemetery president having gotten a good look at dead people cluttering up the place. The Thorns were care takers, received lodging in exchange for work, plain and simple. This was their boss. Peter was away at war, Elizabeth had to fulfill duties. So she did, was pretty darn tired by that time. Not only pregnant in unspeakable heat while mother to small children, had spent the last days uncomfortably being hostess, cook and guide to exalted military personages. And watching her belongings being looted from under her nose. An awful few days for the little immigrant family.

The Thorns moved back in to the shattere Gatehouse July 7th- how in blazes she found someone to fix the windows in a town where glazers must have been working 36 hour days is a question I'd love to have answered. Photos show her parents side still without whole panes, the Thorns? back to livable.

One photo of many, a close up of those days shows 2 small boys sitting on the porch outside the door on the Thorn side of Evergreen Cemetery. It's from July or August, 1863, depending on whether you believe National Archives or LoC. Since we're speaking of ' Gettysburg Citizens ', cannot imagine whose boys these would be, apart from the Thorn's. The had 2 boys around this age. It isn't proof, you could come up with reasons why other children would be there. The simplest answer is these are Elizabeth and Peter Thorn's boys.
lag thorns.jpg

Elizabeth and Peter Thorn

lag4.jpg


lag11.jpg

From another Gatehouse photograph
 

LoyaltyOfDogs

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#13
Loyalty of Dogs is the inspiration for this thread- a great idea and needed! ' Citizens of Gettysburg ', something I've been really poking around in. Making headway but not being organized, at all. This is great, somewhere to build all the streets one by one.
Thank you for the kind words, JPK, and for starting off the thread with such a wealth of information!
 

LoyaltyOfDogs

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#14
Fannie Buehler, who was married to Gettysburg's postmaster, nursed wounded soldiers in their Baltimore Street home, located approximately across the street from the 1858 Adams County Courthouse. She wrote her account at the request of her children and published it in 1896 under the title "Recollections of the Rebel Invasion and One Woman's Experience During the Battle of Gettysburg." "I do not do this for self gratification," she wrote, "but to please my children, my grandchildren, possibly my great-grandchildren, and many friends whom I dearly love. We all know, as the years go by, the story of this great battle, so often told in our days, will grow in interest, to those who may come after us, and that my experience may not die with me, I will endeavor to tell what I know, what I saw, and of the little help I was able to give to the wounded and dying in that momentous struggle."

You can read and download a free copy here, courtesy of the Internet Archive:
https://archive.org/stream/recollectionsofr00bueh#page/n5/mode/2up
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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#16
Basil Biggs deserves his own section- or his own book. He was a sub- sub contractor. Someone had to respectfully deal with the bottom-line issue of soldiers buried all over the battlefield- literally. To disinter and reinter so many men from what was private property, after a dreadfully upsetting time, an awful battle, in the worst possible conditions would take some doing. The government contract went to local farmer F.W. Biesececker who for some reason hired someone else who had the official title " Superintendent of burials ", Samuel Weaver. Gives us two ' ranks ' before anyone got to a shovel. Then someone paid Basil Biggs a buck twenty five for each body dug up and reburied, think about it, from that awful battle. Basil had a crew working for him. They had from I think September to November's date to achieve this. Lincoln was coming.

gb biggs4.jpg

Basil Biggs and his wife, 3rd person unknown ( from features, seems safe to say a family member! ).

We hear Basil's rate of pay all the time, too- $1.25. One web site went as far as pointing out what a lot of money this was ' for the time '. No it wasn't. A private in the army earned 12 to 14 a month. This was grueling, awful, heart breaking, risky, repulsive and hyper-responsible work. No one asks what the F.W. Biesecker pocketed for the contract, or Weaver for the title ' superintendent '. Bet it was a lot, lot more. Men's bodies had been in the ground, in an awfully hot summer for weeks. No coffins. Basil and his men were given the task of moving bodies nature had begun to take back to the earth, to another site. God Bless them. They did this over 3,000 times. When I read on one site where someone actually thought Basil Biggs earned quite a lot on money, thought I'd split. Basil Biggs used his earnings to literally buy cemeteries. " The Sons of Good Will " was an organization Biggs started which purchased land for Black cemeteries. What a wonderful man.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#18
Somewhere must be John Rupp's recollections from Gettysburg since on his family genealogy page there's a Gettysburg timeline on what he saw and experienced those 3 days.

John and Caroline Rupp
and their six children lived on Baltimore Street, not far from the base of Cemetery Hill. John operated a tannery nearby, and all his property lay between the contending armies. On July 1, 1863, the Rupps fled across the street to their neighbors' cellar. The next night, John sent Caroline and the children to his father's home on the corner of York and Stratton Streets. John hid in his own cellar for the rest of the battle.

In a letter to his sister-in-law, John described Union soldiers on his front porch and Confederate soldiers on his rear porch firing at each other through the house. He learned of one Federal killed on his property and Rebels shot in the nearby McCreary and Shriver homes. His tannery suffered some damage in the battle but continued to operate. The house also suffered damage. Following the war, the Rupps chose to replace it with a larger dwelling that stands at 451 Baltimore Street. Just up the street from the Rupps, Jennie Wade was baking bread for soldiers in her sister's kitchen when a stray bullet mortally wounded her. She was the only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg.*
http://www.pacivilwartrails.com/stories/tales/john-rupps-house

* Although I see from the newspaper this isn't quite true- Jennie was the only civilian killed by a bullet fired in battle. A Gettysburg boy was killed when he picked up a loaded musket, according to the Adams Sentinel- same obit as Jennie's.
 

LoyaltyOfDogs

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#19
Not to bring up one of the well known citizens right away but it is necessary. Everyone is well aware Elizabeth and Peter Thorn lived in Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse . . .
View attachment 94852
Elizabeth and Peter Thorn
For anyone who might have missed JPKHuson1863's original posting of Elizabeth Thorn's account of the battle in an earlier thread devoted to Elizabeth, you can read it here:
http://civilwartalk.com/threads/elizabeth-masser-thorn-of-gettysburg.96230/

And thanks also to @7th Mississippi Infantry for his earlier sharing of the account by Tillie Pierce Alleman, "At Gettysburg Or What a Girl Saw and Heard of the Battle,” which is available to read online here:
http://www.digital.library.upenn.edu/women/alleman/gettysburg/gettysburg.html
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#20
Thanks for keeping me on track, Loyalty of Dogs! There's just so much, under this heading. SO frequently the curtain goes down as Pickett's Charge is repulsed. You know, " Once Upon A Time, Lee and Someone Else who was Union fought at Gettysburg. Someone saw shoes from a Cupola, the next day a few people went over to LRT and had a battle then the next day George Pickett charged somewhere else but didn't make it, The End " Occasionally one, single Townspeople, Jenny Wade, becomes killed in a kitchen which appears from nowhere like it's Brigadoon or something, but she's disconnected from events, too.

It's such a complicated, rich, frequently tragic tapestry- " Gettysburg ". There's a lock after each row, too, you can't go back and take out what's been laid down in the pattern, no do-overs in History. The thing is, " Gettysburg " was the town first, a battle named for a town- no blank canvas but streets and lanes lined with houses- in which lives were being lived, then wildly disrupted. By " Gettysburg "
 



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